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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV

Think of the last new thing that you received. It can be anything from new socks to a new car. At some fundamental level, we receive delight from the experience. Granted, we likely will receive more joy from a vehicle than socks, but you get the idea.

The scientific reason for this is new things activate a region in our midbrain, which is linked to the reward system and the hippocampus, the center of memory formation. Other studies have shown something new can enhance our mood, make us more creative, and increase dopamine, the chemical that reinforces our sense of pleasure. 

While this helps us explain the physiological effect of new things, its impact pales compared to the new creation we become in Jesus Christ. In this verse, Paul explains the total transformation when people accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. He says that anyone in Christ is a new creation, meaning they have a new identity, purpose, and destiny. The old things, such as their sinful nature, their guilt, and their separation from God, have passed away.

Accepting Christ is much more significant than a temporary shot of dopamine to the brain; we become a totally new spiritual person. No product can do what the Holy Spirit does. Purchasing new socks or a new car cannot make us someone different. At most, it may change our appearance or how others see us, but that's it. 

Only through Christ do we become changed, putting off our sinfulness and taking on new characteristics. We put away wickedness, cruelty, and estrangement, those things that keep us separated from God and often others, and they are replaced by righteousness, forgiveness, and reconciliation. We have a new identity, purpose, and destiny.

Today is the beginning of Lent, that time of the Christian calendar when we focus on repentance and renewal. As we reflect on our sins and repent–transformation is a continual process, we aren't there yet–we prepare ourselves for the celebration of Easter, the day when Jesus rose from the dead and defeated sin and death, making our becoming a new creation possible. 

Father God, thank you for making us a new creation through your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank you for forgiving our sins and giving us a new identity, purpose, and destiny. Help us to live according to your will and to share your love and grace with others. We confess we sometimes still struggle with old habits, thoughts, and feelings. We ask for your strength and guidance to overcome them and to grow in faith and obedience. Renew our minds and hearts with your Holy Spirit and fill us with peace and joy. As we prepare for Easter, help us to remember the power of your resurrection and the hope of your coming again. May we celebrate your victory over sin and death and praise you for your amazing grace. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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